The main argument of this book is that cell signalling via nerves, hormones, local mediators and growth factors are not distinct phenomena, but branches of one general mechanism and should therefore be studied in an integrated manner. This volume is designed to act as a bridge between general texts and is aimed at biologists coming to the topic from a variety of backgrounds. The first two chapters introduce the general concepts of intracellular signalling and also cover the topic of direct cell-to-cell communication by cytoplasmic bridges (gap junctions). The remaining chapters cover the first and second messengers, starting with their structure, synthesis and release, progressing to the target cell and then working from the membrane inwards towards the nucleus. There is also a section on the mechanism of nervous conduction and the regulation of the ionic balance of cells. The final chapters discuss the regulation of cell growth and division and the special case of messengers acting via nuclear receptors.
Introduction - cell-to-cell signalling by bridges: why do cells need to communicate?; three basic types of intracellular signalling; intracellular signalling via cytoplasmic bridges. Part 1 The first messengers - hormones, neurotransmitters and local mediators: hormones; neurotransmitters; local mediators (paracrine control). Part 2 Structure and biosynthesis of first messengers: messengers derived from amino acids and other water soluble metabolites; messengers sunthesized from lipids; peptide messengers. Part 3 Ionic homeostasis and nervous conduction: ionic homeostasis; excitable cells and nervous conduction. Part 4 Cell biology of first messenger synthesis and secretion: cell biology of peptide messenger synthesis; import of non-peptide messengers into secretory granules; triggering of exocytosis. Part 5 Cell surface receptors - analysis and identification: receptor binding studies; identification and characterization of receptor proteins; receptor superfamilies; desensitization of receptors; down-regulation of receptors. Part 6 Cell surface receptors - signal transduction: ligand-gated ion channels; second messenger systems - cyclic nucleotides; Ca2+-mobilizing messengers utilize a novel second messenger system; receptors with integral enzyme activity. Part 7 Cell surface receptors - protein phosphorylation and other intracellular events: responses to depolarization by ligand-gated ion channels; responses to Ca2+ and second messengers; responses to protein (Tyrosine) kinase receptors; protein phosphatases; how does phosphorylation modulate protein function?; advantages of protein phosphorylation for signal transduction. Part 8 Regulation of cell proliferation and cancer: growth of normal and abnormal cells in culture; discovery of oncogenes; functions of oncogenes and their normal counterparts; the anti-oncogenes tumour suppressors; mutation of more than one gene may be necessary to produce cancer. Part 9 Signal transduction by nuclear receptors: nuclear receptors bind directly to target genes; anatomy of nuclear receptors; mechanism of gene activastion.